Man Found Dead in Council Bluffs Fire Faced Assault Charges

Maureen Wurtz

Council Bluffs, IOWA (KPTM)- Months of stalking and harassment came to afiery end Monday. "I never expected something like that to happen," said JohnLarchick.

Larchick has lived in his home near 46th andNorwood for nine years. He said his sonwas home alone when a fire destroyed his next-door neighbors house. "Hecouldn't really see our house-he didn't know if it was on fire or what."

Neighbors stood watching, shocked, as firefighters battled ahouse fire around 3:30 Monday.

It wasn't until hours later when they found the body of MarkVanderwoude, 43, in the master bathroom. Vanderwoude and his estranged wife,Lori, owned the home.

"What we were seeing is what I would call is kind of atextbook escalation of a domestic violence situation," said PottawattamieCounty Attorney, Matt Wilbur.

Wilbur said Vanderwoude was facing multiple charges, includeassault with a deadly weapon and stalking.

"He tried to run his wife off the road, there was a car chase,"said Wilbur.

Wilbur said Vanderwoude had tried to fill the home near 46thand Norwood with carbon monoxide and tampered with the gas line.

"It's scary, because I mean, he could blow up the wholeneighborhood," said Larchick.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated.Authorities said they do believe an accelerant was used.

When firefighters got to the house, Vanderwoude's car wasrunning in the driveway. He was nowhere in sight.

"He could have been caught up in his own scheme," said Wilbur.

The only damage to Larchick's house was a melted fence.

He said he's relieved to know the family doesn't have toworry anymore, but sad that it turned out to be such an explosive ending.

"To a point whereyou get tired of it," said Larchick. "We wanted something to happen, to getthis guy."

The cause of death is still being investigated. Officialssaid they hope to have results by the end of this week.